Have you never had a cat at home but are expecting one soon? There are several things you should know about cats before adopting one. Owning a cat can be a rewarding experience, but you’ll want to be prepared.
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know as a first-time cat owner. So, make sure you keep reading!
Table of Contents
1. Cats are a Long-Term Commitment
First, it’s essential to realize that cats are a long-term commitment. They live about 14 years on average, although some cats can easily make it up to 20. That’s a long time to have a pet, so make sure you’re confident that you can care for them that long.
You must meet the cat’s physical and emotional needs for the rest of their life. You might want to reconsider getting a cat if you don’t think you can do that.
You’ll also need to consider your future plans and how a cat can fit into them. For example, can you take the cat if you know you’ll move in a few years? It might be best to wait if you can’t. One of the most common reasons people give their cats to a shelter is that they can’t bring them with them when they need to move.
So, make sure that you plan ahead.
2. Gather Cat Supplies Before Adoption
You’ll want to have your cat supplies ready to go before bringing the cat home. Here’s a brief list of what you’ll need:
- Litter box, scoop, and cat litter
- Ceramic or stainless steel water and food bowls
- A cat bed
- An assortment of toys, which could include balls, crinkle toys, bells, and mice
- An appropriately sized cat carrier
- Scratching posts and cardboard scratchboards
- Nutritious cat food
- Cat brush
- Cat claw trimmer
Using this list will help you keep your new cat comfortable and happy. Moving into a new home can be stressful for pets, so you’ll want to offer them plenty of enrichment and fulfill their needs.
The adoption process will go much more smoothly if you have everything before bringing the cat home. Try to get basic versions of the items on this list and get more, or upgrade them as you go.
3. Cat-Proof Your Home First
Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures. You’ll need to ensure your home is safe for them before bringing them home. Many cats will want to explore when you let them out of their crates. Others will hide for a while, then explore when you’re not paying attention to them.
So, it’s essential that you cat-proof your home before the cat arrives. You should remove anything dangerous to them, including chemicals and toxic plants. Then, check for small items, like loose change, that a cat could swallow and put away. Many cats inspect things by picking them up in their mouths, making tiny things dangerous.
Food wrapping paper, chicken bones, and string are some choking hazards that cats swallow the most.
4. Cats Need Frequent Vet Care
You must bring your cat to the vet often. After adopting your new fuzzy friend, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian. Discuss your options for neutering or spaying your pet and arrange regular appointments.
Your cat will need vaccinations to stay healthy. Some vaccines are required by law in certain states, so ask your vet to ensure your cat gets everything they need.
5. Kittens Need Some Litter Box Training
If you’re adopting a young kitten, you may need to give them litter box training. Luckily, it’s not difficult, as cats instinctively bury their waste in the sand. You can’t adopt a cat until it’s eight weeks old, so they should also have some litter box training by then.
After bringing your kitten home, set them in the litter box and gently move their two front paws in a digging motion. Doing so tells your cat they can dig and use the bathroom here. Most kittens will remember where the litter box is after you do this only once or twice.
Seeing your cat sniffing, digging around, and circling in one spot could indicate they need to use the bathroom. Pick your cat up and place them in the litter box.
Setting them in the litter box is a good idea, even if you adopt an older cat. That way, they know where it is. They’ll often start using it on their own after that.
Make sure to praise your cat after they use the litter box. Lastly, you’ll want to keep it clean to encourage them to use it. Don’t punish your kitten if they have an accident outside the box because it could discourage them from using it properly.
6. Check Out Cat Cafes First
If you’re unsure whether a cat is right for you, you can always check out a local cat cafe. You’ll interact with the cats there and enjoy a comfortable snack. Many cat cafes also offer adoptions, so you might find your new friend at one.
Cat cafes are excellent for several reasons. Before adopting, you get to check if the cat’s personality matches yours. If you’re unsure if you have cat allergies, you also get to figure out if that would be a problem before bringing a cat home.
You can also check out what kinds of cat toys and other supplies the establishment uses, giving you a better idea of what you should get for your cats.
Are You Ready To Adopt a Cat?
After reading, you should better understand whether you’re ready to adopt a new cat. As a first-time cat owner, it can be challenging to know what to expect. However, you’ll be in a much better place using the above list.
Every cat is different, but that’s what makes becoming a pet parent such a rewarding experience. So, if you’re ready, it’s time to adopt a cat!